Gifted & Talented in Academics

General Intellectual Ability and/or Subject Specific Aptitude


  1. Application Process:

    Step 1: Fill out Referral Forms - To begin the application process, referrals are needed from at least TWO sources: a teacher, a parent, or the student (a self-referral). It is certainly acceptable, and perhaps even desirable, to submit referral forms of all three types-- and perhaps more than one teacher referral, from different teachers-- but this is not required. All of these referral forms are electronic, and the links are below. When submitted, they are shared directly with the Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator, who then shares them with the identification committee at the appropriate time.

  2. These forms are all designed to provide a sense of the student's learning style-- they are NOT indicators of intelligence or ability. The information they provide will be used by the identification committee to gain a sense of the whole child.

    Step 2: Submit Grades and Test Scores- Once these referrals (again, at least two of the three types) have been submitted, the following materials should be emailed in .pdf form to Mr. Tom Gray,, (the Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator), to be included in the student's application packet:

    • The child's most recent report card, or an up-to-date transcript;
    • Reports of recent, available standardized test scores (NWEA, PSAT, SBAC, MEA, etc.);
    • OPTIONAL- Up to 3 samples of student work, accompanied with written explanations if necessary, that are indicative of the student's ability and learning style. These may be writing samples, projects that the student has made (either for school or perhaps for a special exhibit, such as a Maker's Fair or 4-H project), or other meaningful products. If the project involved a demonstration or a physical product that cannot be submitted, photos, video, and/or a written description may be shared. Whatever the format, the evidence of the student work must be shared electronically with the Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator.

    The Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator will keep these on file and share them with the identification committee at the appropriate time. All materials will be kept confidential. If grades and/or standardized test scores are not available (for example, if a student has been homeschooled or has recently moved), please contact the Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator ( with a written explanation.

    Step 3: Take the Creativity Assessment-      

    All students applying for the Gifted and Talented Program in Academics will be assessed using the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. This assessment has been demonstrated to be a reliable indicator of cognitive fluency, mental flexibility, and capacity for divergent thinking. This assessment will be administered for rising ninth-graders at area middle schools during the spring of their 8th grade year, and can also be administered by special arrangement with the Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator ( Any current CHRHS student who has not yet been identified as Gifted/Talented may also contact the Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator to take this assessment at an arranged time.

    The Torrance Test of Creative Thinking was developed by E. Paul Torrance, one of the pioneers of creativity assessment. In his work, Torrance stressed that creativity and intelligence are different, and that because of this, it is important that we consider creativity separately when assessing Gifted and Talented children-- it does not necessarily show up in intelligence tests or in a student's grades. The Torrance Test of Creative Thinking takes about an hour to complete, and it is not like a typical standardized test. Instead, students look at pictures, and then respond in writing --usually in bullet form-- to prompts that pertain to the pictures. For example, if presented a with a picture that presents a highly unlikely or even absurd situation, students are asked to generate "what if" ideas. Some items ask students to predict all the possible things that could have come just before the scene in the picture, or all possible consequences that might occur immediately after the scene in the picture. It is designed specifically to measure the following attributes of creativity: Fluency (the number of responses generated); Flexibility (different categories of responses); Originality (unlikely or unusual, but well-reasoned responses); and Elaboration (the detail of the responses).


  1. Identification for the Gifted and Talented Program in Academics

    Once all materials have been submitted as explained in the steps above, they will be reviewed holistically by the identification committee, which will identify students who are eligible for participation in the program. Students who have applied for identification, together with their parents, will be notified by mail of the status of their application.

  2. Program Rationale - An Emphasis on Creativity

    The Gifted and Talented Program in Academics and the Arts at CHRHS anchor the Five Town CSD’s educational opportunities for identified G/T  students. The State-approved programs serve students with both demonstrated and potential exceptional abilities in intellectual, academic, and artistic areas in the visual and performing arts. The Gifted and Talented Program at CHRHS includes an array of academic opportunities: unique coursework at the high school and college levels, specially designed independent studies (often with community mentors), advanced language tutorials, Syracuse University Project ADVANCE concurrent enrollment courses, U-Maine System college courses, and other learning experiences appropriate for gifted, talented, and highly creative students.

    The regularly scheduled Gifted and Talented courses at CHRHS offer challenging, fast-paced, integrative, and conceptually complex curricula. The central focus of these courses is the development of creativity through project-based learning, emphasizing investigation and innovation. As Gary Davis so aptly observes, "Civilization is a history of creative ideas that have been modified, combined, transformed, borrowed, and built upon each other into ever new creations.... Civilization will continue to have problems and aesthetic needs, and creative people will continue to provide solutions and aesthetic experiences."

  3. Independent Study - Application Link

    Any CHRHS student may apply for an independent study opportunity in an area of interest. During the add/drop periods, students may link directly to the Independent/Directed Study application from this website.

    Independent/Directed Study Application Link

    At other times during the school year, Independent/Directed Study applications are only available to students under special circumstances. Any student who has a compelling reason to arrange an Independent or Directed Study at a time OTHER than a typical add/drop period should have his or her Guidance Counselor contact Mr. Tom Gray, Horizons Program Coordinator, to make the necessary arrangements. Typically, this type of exception will only be made when a student is at risk of failure to graduate on time without a special arrangement.

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